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NEWS | March 19, 2024

Lightning from the South Korean Sky: 5th ANGLICO at Warrior Shield 24

By 1st Lt. Michelle Lin, III MEF Information Group

To strengthen crisis response in the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. Marines with 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, and the Republic of Korea Marine Corps conducted exercise Warrior Shield 24, which includes the Korean Marine Exchange Program, rehearsing close air support combat scenarios using the deployed virtual training environment at Osan Air Base, South Korea.

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and forward air controller officers from 5th ANGLICO and the ROK Marine Corps came together multiple times throughout the year to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures, mastering their combined skills in calling in air strikes.

To comprehend and meet the demands of the future operational environment, the team familiarized themselves with complex missions in distributed maritime and urban environments and locating enemy targets using advanced capabilities. ROK and U.S. Marines role-play real-world scenarios to facilitate live-fire CAS.

The ROK and U.S. Marines successfully navigated existing language barriers. U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Sung M. Shin, joint fires and effects integrator with 5th ANGLICO, shifts from speaking in English to Korean with ease. ROK Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jiwo Kang conducted a 9-line CAS brief in English during one control. The close integration of tactical forces and conduct of complex training highlighted the strength and flexibility of the ROK and U.S. relationship.

“I’m doing my job as an interpreter and JTAC. This is my fourth time participating in this exercise with 5th ANGLICO. It is pretty awesome working with them,” explains Kang. “It is a great opportunity to enhance JTAC skills and strengthen our alliances. I’m learning a lot of things from 5th ANGLICO like how to conduct CAS more effectively, and how to avoid collateral damage.”

Following a week of simulations, the team relocated to Pilsung Range to conduct a live-fire bilateral Tactical Air Control Party event with joint fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Live ordnance fired at targets close to friendly troops makes close air support one of the most delicate combat roles of military aviation and artillery.

Under modern battlefield realities, the team also practiced their ability to remain undetected and avoid being located, targeted, and ultimately killed by a potential adversary. Employing long-range fires, the ROK and U.S. Marines were enabled to deploy distributed, low-signature, lethal, networked, persistent, and joint expeditionary capabilities that can dominate throughout the littorals.

“Live-fire close air support training is essential to enhance forward observers and JTACs’ capacities to coordinate, execute, and deconflict fires, increasing lethality,” says Capt. Brandon B. Dontogan, a field artillery officer and team lead. “Adding in joint and bilateral training pushes this concept even further with us coordinating with different branches and partner nations to execute attacks and strike targets as one team. The frequency and depth of our training underscores a shared commitment to regional security.”

The ROK-U.S. alliance has been the foundation of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula for over 70 years. The combined training ensured the ROK and U.S. Marines are tactically and technically proficient, and able to respond decisively to aggression across the Peninsula.

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